Vivactil

Generic Name: protriptyline (proe-TRIP-ti-leen)
Brand Name: Vivactil

Antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in children, teenagers, and young adults. However, depression and certain other mental problems may also increase the risk of suicide. Talk with the patient's doctor to be sure that the benefits of using Vivactil outweigh the risks.

Family and caregivers must closely watch patients who take Vivactil. It is important to keep in close contact with the patient's doctor. Tell the doctor right away if the patient has symptoms like worsened depression, suicidal thoughts, or changes in behavior. Discuss any questions with the patient's doctor.

Vivactil is not approved for use in children. Talk with the doctor.


Vivactil is used for:

Treating depression. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Vivactil is a tricyclic antidepressant. It works by increasing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain that help elevate mood.

Do NOT use Vivactil if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Vivactil or to similar medicines
  • you have taken furazolidone, linezolid, or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days
  • you are taking cisapride
  • you are recovering from a recent heart attack

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 10 Common Symptoms That Should Never Be Ignored

Before using Vivactil:

Some medical conditions may interact with Vivactil. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you drink alcohol-containing beverages daily or you have a history of alcohol abuse
  • if you take thyroid medicine or you have a history of overactive thyroid, increased eye pressure or glaucoma, heart problems, kidney or liver problems, diabetes, seizures, the blood disease porphyria, an enlarged prostate, or difficulty urinating
  • if you have suicidal thoughts or behavior, bipolar disorder, or any other mental or mood disorders
  • if you are undergoing electroshock therapy or are scheduled to have any surgery
  • if you are taking a medicine that contains methylene blue

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Vivactil. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Azole antifungals (eg, fluconazole), cimetidine, duloxetine, flecainide, methylphenidate, mibefradil, phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), propafenone, quinidine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (eg, fluoxetine), or terbinafine because the side effects of Vivactil may be increased
  • Arsenic, astemizole, cisapride, droperidol, furazolidone, linezolid, MAOIs (eg, phenelzine), pimozide, quinolone antibiotics (eg, ciprofloxacin), streptogramins (eg, dalfopristin), terfenadine, tramadol, or ziprasidone because the risk of high blood pressure, serious heart problems (eg, irregular heartbeat), or seizures may be increased
  • Barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital) or phenytoin because the effectiveness of Vivactil may be decreased
  • Anticholinergics (eg, benztropine), carbamazepine, chlorpropamide, or sympathomimetics (eg, phenylephrine) because side effects may be increased by Vivactil
  • Clonidine, guanethidine, or guanfacine because effectiveness may be decreased by Vivactil

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Vivactil may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Vivactil:

Use Vivactil as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Vivactil comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get Vivactil refilled.
  • Take Vivactil by mouth with or without food.
  • If you miss a dose of Vivactil, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. If you take 1 dose daily at bedtime, do not take the missed dose the next morning.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Vivactil.

Important safety information:

  • Vivactil may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Vivactil with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Check with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Vivactil; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Vivactil may cause dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Do not become overheated in hot weather or while you are being active; heatstroke may occur.
  • Children, teenagers, and young adults who take Vivactil may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions. Watch all patients who take Vivactil closely. Contact the doctor at once if new, worsened, or sudden symptoms such as depressed mood; anxious, restless, or irritable behavior; panic attacks; or any unusual change in mood or behavior occur. Contact the doctor right away if any signs of suicidal thoughts or actions occur.
  • Diabetes patients - Vivactil may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Vivactil may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Vivactil. Use a sunscreen or protective clothing if you must be outside for a prolonged period.
  • Some people may be at risk for eye problems from Vivactil. Your doctor may want you to have an eye exam to see if you are at risk for these eye problems. Call your doctor right away if you have eye pain, vision changes, or swelling or redness in or around the eye.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Vivactil before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Lab tests, including blood cell counts, may be performed while you use Vivactil. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Vivactil with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion, blood pressure changes, and irregular heartbeat.
  • Vivactil should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if Vivactil can cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Vivactil while you are pregnant. It is not known if Vivactil is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Vivactil.

If you stop taking Vivactil suddenly, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include headache, nausea, and tiredness.

Possible side effects of Vivactil:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; excitement; headache; impotence; nausea; nightmares; pupil dilation; sensitivity to sunlight; sweating; tiredness; upset stomach; vomiting; weakness; weight loss or gain.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in sex drive; chest pain; confusion; constipation; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever; frequent or difficult urination; hallucinations; impulsive behavior or other unusual changes in behavior; jaw, neck, or muscle spasms; mental or mood changes (eg, increased anxiety, mood swings, agitation, irritability, nervousness, restlessness); panic attacks; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe dizziness or drowsiness; sore throat; stomach pain; suicidal thinking or behavior; swelling of the testicles; tremor; trouble sleeping; trouble walking or keeping your balance; twitching of the face or tongue; uncontrolled movements of arms and legs or stiffness; unusual bleeding or bruising; worsening of depression; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Vivactil:

Store Vivactil at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Vivactil out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Vivactil, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Vivactil is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Vivactil or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Vivactil. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Vivactil. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Vivactil.

Issue Date: December 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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